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BASN Game Of The Week: No. 6 Virginia Union at No. 3 Elizabeth City State
By Tony McClean
Updated: November 3, 2006
NEW HAVEN, Ct. — The Black College Football weekend has already gotten started with No. 2 Hampton’s 34-17 win against Bethune-Cookman this past Thursday night at Armstrong Stadium in Virginia.
The Pirates (9-1, 6-1 MEAC) got 180 rushing yards and two touchdowns from senior Alonzo Coleman in the win. HU is now one game away from capturing its third consecutive conference crown and the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs.
Our featured game of the week will decide which team will meet No. 1 N.C. Central in next weekend’s CIAA Championship Game to be played at Durham. The Eagles clinched the Western Division crown last week.
Saturday at 2 pm, No. 3 Elizabeth City State (8-1, 6-0 CIAA) will host No. 6 Virginia Union (7-2, 5-1) at Roebuck Stadium. The winner will clinch the Eastern Division title and meet the Eagles next Saturday.
Last week, Virginia Union survived a defensive battle with Bowie State, 9-7. The VUU defense which has struggled at times in 2006, held BSU to a single touchdown. However, they will need another stellar effort to stop the Vikings’ offense. Although, ECSU was held to a touchdown at St. Paul’s, they average 28 points per contest.
ECSU’s defense has been the best in the league, only giving up 11 points per contest. ECSU QB Curtis Rich and VUU’s Lamar Little may be battling for offensive player of the year honors. However, both will have to show their muster this weekend.
Also, ECSU is currently in position for an NCAA Playoff Bid. However, they must continue to win. Ironically, head football coach Waverly Tillar is a graduate of Virginia Union and won a CIAA Championship as a linebacker for the Panthers in 1973.
In other games:
(7) Johnson C. Smith at (1) N.C. Central
NCCU, currently ranked third in the NCAA Southeast Region Rankings, must continue to win to secure a playoff spot. JCSU is currently ranked 10th in the same poll. A win over the 7-2 Golden Bulls will help the Eagles in the all-important “strength of schedule” category. A loss puts them in a precarious position with a host of other one-loss teams in the Southeast. Their NCAA hopes would take a serious hit. JCSU is still fighting for a spot in the playoffs and the Pioneer Bowl.
Concord (W. Va.) at (4) Delaware State
Winners of four straight, including last week’s squeaker with S.C. State, the Hornets look to stay hot against the Division II Mountain Lions. DSU must finish strong with a possible NCAA playoff berth in waiting. They’ll meet Norfolk State and Howard in their final two games, but with Hampton already winning the Hornets still can control their postseason destiny. CU, who have lost four straight, are led by senior defensive lineman Terrance Lee. The Florida native leads all Division II lineman in tackles for losses (26 for 97 yards).
(5) Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Prairie View
This week, APBU will have a tough act to follow — their own comeback. Down 30-14 at the half to Jackson State, the Golden Lions scored 29 second-half points and rallied to defeat the Tigers. The win, APBU’s fourth straight, was capped by two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of play. However last year at this time, the Golden Lions lost to Prairie View 34-7. While the Panthers have lost five straight since beating Southern back in September, the upset possibility is still there.
(8) Alabama A&M at Jackson State
The Eastern Division winner will likely come out of this match up in Mississippi. JSU is undefeated at home, but has dropped two contests in a row after last week’s disaster at UAPB. A&M’s victory at the Magic City Classic last week was sparked by a school-record 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from freshman kick returner Ulysses Banks. Something to keep in mind: A&M’s Anthony Jones is 3-1 against JSU, but has a 1-2 record against Rick Comegy, from his days at Tuskegee.
(9) Albany State vs. Fort Valley State
(17th Annual Fountain City Classic at Columbus, Ga.)
Much is at stake in this SIAC showdown. If Fort Valley (4-5) wins they can redeem their season and finish at .500, end the season riding a 3 game winning streak and spoil Albany State’s hopes of a fourth consecutive SIAC title. If Albany State (6-3) wins they will likely get the bid to go to the Pioneer Bowl or maybe the playoffs and win the SIAC crown. Both are coming off huge wins: FVSU knocked off Lane College while ASU defeated crosstown rival Morehouse. The Golden Rams’ top-ranked defense will be looking to control FVSU quarterback Nathanial Samas, who threw for a career-high 289 yards in last week’s win against the Dragons.
Benedict College at (10) Lane College
Both teams are entering this game in a foul mood due last week’s developments. The Dragons are coming off a detrimental loss to Fort Valley State that has dampened but have not out ruled their chances for their first ever NCAA Division II playoff birth or an outside chance at the SIAC crown. Benedict (3-6) is coming off a tough loss to Stillman despite receiving stellar play from their defense and holding the SIAC’s number two passer, Charles McCullum, to just 65 passing yards.